TEXAS SUPREME COURT HOLDS THAT TEXAS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT PROVIDES EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR TEMPORARY WORKERS

February 6, 2012

On Friday, January 27, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court held that the only remedy available to the parents of temporary worker for his work-related fatality is the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act (TWCA). Port  Elevator–Brownsville,  L.L.C.  v.  Rogelio  Casados  and  Rafaela  Casados,  Individually  and  as Representatives of the Estate of their Son Rafael Casados, Respondents, S.W.3d, 2012 WL 247985, No. 10–0523 (Tex. Jan. 27, 2012). 

Rafael Casados suffered a fatal, work-related injury while working for two employers that both had workers’ compensation coverage. Casados’s parents sued one of the employers.  The court of appeals held that the policy at issue did not cover Casados because he was a temporary worker and affirmed the judgment Casados’ parents obtained against Port Elevator.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the appellate court holding that workers’ compensation was the exclusive remedy to Casados’ parents, which barred their suit against Port Elevator.  The Court rejected Casados’ argument that their son was not covered by Port Elevator’s workers’ compensation policy and instead found that because Port Elevator had a workers’ compensation policy, Casados was an employee (albeit temporary), he suffered a work-related injury, and the jury failed to find Port Elevator grossly negligent, the exclusive remedy under the TWCA was against the Port Elevator’s insurer—not Port Elevator. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment for Port Elevator.